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what food forests (real, not on paper...) do you know in New Zealand ?


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The closest one to you would be Robert and Robyn Guyton's place in Riverton.  (Robyn is a member of this Food Forest Ooooby group).

Have you come across Rainbow Valley Farm near Matakana, north of Auckland?  Set up by Joe Polaischer and Trish Allen.  There is a general video about their farm here.

The Raglan West Food Forest, Oram Park (turn at Raglan West Dairy, the park is on your left between Taipari and Nihinihi) has been going since at least Feb 2010 in the Waikato. 

Like you, I'd be interested to hear of other examples.

Hello Kathryn,

Guyton's place. Yes. But no real canopy trees (+20m) ?

A lot of annuals on openings?


Rainbow Valley Farm. No. That's history. Now on sale as a Lifestyle block with a nice garden for very rich people. http://www.harcourts.co.nz/Property/572033/WW3598/588-Matakana-Vall...


Raglan West Food Forest. Yes. I can't find details :-( area size?, all 7 layers?, photos?, google map?, species list?


Hortecology Sanctuary / Mahi Whenua - Unitec Campus, off Carrington Rd, Mt. Albert, Auckland

Site approx. 1000m². Part of the Horticulture Department of the Unitec Institute of Technology.

I also can't find details :-( area size?, all 7 layers?, photos?, google map?, species list?



I got more information about the Hortecology Sanctuary / Mahi Whenua:

The hole area is about approx. 15000 m² large.

A complete implementation of all seven layers of plants.
This Food Forest is also accessible to the public.
The public is not specifically invited to harvest but light pickings are tolerated.
The owner like to see some maintenance work done before harvest. “weeding before eating”
The initial founding, establishment and maintenance of this Food Forest was done by Brendan Hoare, key staff members and students. The ongoing maintenance of approx. 15h/week is made by staff and students. Also some working bee events for maintenance work.


P.S. species list requested

I don't know if any of the places I suggested will absolutely meet your criteria, they are suggestions you may (or may not) want to follow up.

Rainbow Valley Farm: the owners are simultaneously looking for partners as an alternative way of keeping it going.

Hort Sanctuary - I understand some research was carried out on the increasing biodiversity of the site as it grew/developed.  I would love to know if this was published and if so where.  Yet to visit.

Have you visited Kaiwaka Organics (formerly Koanga Gardens) and toured the property?  They were definitely using guilds and some layers when I did a brief tour a few years ago: again, I'm not sure if it would meet all your criteria. Contact details are on their web site.

> Rainbow Valley Farm: the owners are simultaneously looking for partners

> as an alternative way of keeping it going.

When you sell a farm you have to decide on what you orientating the price.
1. The productivity of the farm. And the realistic achievable productivity in the near future. The farm has to pay for it self in maximum 30 years.
2. The achievable price of the "area".

If you opt for 1. you get a farmer type buyer who will run it as a farm.
If you opt for 2. you get someone who will it never run as a farm, because he don't need to do it. And it will never pay to do it.

It's absolutely fine to choose 2.
But please don't be a hypocrite and face the consequences of your choice.
Rainbow Valley "Farm" will end up as a nice house with a nice garden and a nice large lawn in a nice district, because it's to steep for a golf place.

I got more information about the The Raglan West Food Forest, Oram Park.

The whole Food Forest area is about approx. 90 m² large, distributed over 3 islands.

A complete implementation of all seven layers of plants, but distributed over 3 islands.

This Food Forest is accessible to the public.  The harvest rules are: only take what you can carry or only take 1 for you.

Paul Peterson, Jacqui Forbes & Jon Bercely founded the establishment of the Food Forest.
The maintenance is made by a local food forest group, students and by workshops/working bees. The engagement of the locals could be better.

The species list is requested.

More information about the Reglan West Food Forest.

A Google Maps link: http://goo.gl/maps/DB4Ed (The Google image of the location must be a bit old cause there is no sign of the F.F.)

Species list: (sorry some missing Latin names and no more details)

Small Tree Layer:
  Pip fruit tree: 8-10
  Stone fruit tree: 8-10
  Guava & Citrus tree 8-10
  Olive (Olea europaea) tree
  Feijoa (Acca sellowiana) bush / very small tree
  Tamarillo (Solanum betaceum)

Bush Layer:
  Gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa)

Herb Layer:
  Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
  Lemongrass (Cymbopogon sp.)
  Silver-beet (Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla)

Ground Cover Layer:
  Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
  White Clover (Trifolium repens)
  Strawberry (Fragaria sp.)
  Orange-berry (Rubus pentalobus)
  Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

There are lots starting out and a lot of interest in them.  I would expect all to be unique as the size of the land available, the types of plants that suit that bio-region and the food and forest preferences of the growers.

Ours in Southland is one of the oldest starting over 15 years ago covering just over 1.5 acres.  We removed most of our canopy trees 5 years ago because in our situation they began shading the whole system and lowered the productivity of the lower layers.  We have come to the conclusion for Southern NZ that the forest edges is the most diverse and productive part of a forest which may not be the case in more tropical regions where shade may encourage diversity.  We have therefore created waves of forest edges with small clearings for  our annual crops within the forest. We still have some canopy trees but these are spread sparsely because our 'forest' is relatively small.

We also have another one in Riverton that is a few years old on a 1/4 acre section.  If is an example of a Southern NZ forest garden on land owned by the South Cost Environment Centre.  It will be open to the public soon and are just working on the information display to go with it. It is work in progress but we think it is worth sharing it as it will encourage others to move in that direction.  

Hello Robyn,

that's nice to hear that you setting up a public Food Forest in Riverton.
May I have some more information ?
- A Google Map link ?
- Is the public allowed to harvest products? Under which conditions ?
- Who is doing the maintenance ?
- Have you record keeping about the amount of labour for maintenance ? (month/year)
- Who was/is founding the establishment and maintenance of the Food Forest ?
- Have you a species list ?

And here I always just thought it was called a food garden.

We bought a place with a wee section - 500sqm, weed infested and a mess.

Pulled out the nasty weedmat and bark - and the weeds growing through it, cut down the weed trees (Chinese Toon etc) and planted stuff.

I now have passionfruit, Albany Surprise grape, Niagra grape, 2 x Black Doris plums, one dwarf cherry, 1 orange tree, lemon tree, gooseberry bush, strawberry patch. I have thyme, sage, chives, oregano, basil, mint, parsley (self seeding where ever it likes), bay. I have grown and am growing, beans, peas, caulis, leeks, swedes, silverbeet, beetroot, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, kumara, spring onions, radishes, cucumber, celery, rocket, lettuce, capsicum, and have recently suceeded in growing pepper (Piper Nigrum).

Mainly I chose what I can preserve/freeze, things I use a lot, things that keep patches under control as groundcover and things that are expensive like the passionfruit.

It was a budget decision really to convert the section....and a hatred of weeds. Do not want to be spending my like weeding and it's worked well.

Other plants I put in (and one that put itself in) are old roses (the single flower type), violas, and borage. That was for the bees. They love the herb flowers but then move on to the roses and when all else is gone, the violas.

Tried a few different bee flowers but some on the list the bees ignored. The bit of lawn that is left has clover, and they use that too......we mow with it up a bit to keep the flowers intact.

So...permaculture huh.........guess that is what we have done.


148 Havelock Street Riverton is a public food forest started in 2008.  You can see it on gooogle maps but not sure how to get the link here.  It has about 50 person hours a year spent on it and we hope to open it in Spring with formed paths and information panels in the entrance.  A South Coast Environment Society project www.sces.org.nz

Will be doing a map  ad species list over the winter so will post here once complete.

Hi - we have approx. 2.5 to 3 acres emergent food forest- oldest trees (koanga sourced) are approx. 9 years old -  so no canopy as yet, although planting is getting going well..always need more plants of course..

Interestingly we have an old villa here in the Wairarapa - and the old orchards are probably more food- forestish than I will ever be able to establish in my lifetime! We've got the old orchard trees..pears, apples mostly. I think I will need to focus on those areas for more "instant results!

Thanks for the question- it is great to follow other who are replying to you..





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